I’ll admit that when Pokemon Go first started to emerge, I was very much a naysayer. I was one of the pissy “real fans” that thought a bunch of nostalgia sheep were encroaching on my turf. Everyone started talking about it and I got up on my high horse. But then everyone started talking about it, and my opinions on the game changed. Don’t get me wrong they’re still very mixed opinions, but I’m not being a douche about it anymore.
I appreciate Pokemon Go a lot for the cultural phenomena it has become. Bringing the most unlikely of people together in the most mundane of places. I apprechiate the crazy stories that have come out of it and the fact that it had just got more people outside. But all that aside, Pokemon Go is still a crappy game with a whole slew of problems.
After I realised that I should probably insert myself into this cultural event, and actually started playing Pokemon Go I found myself having a pretty poor time with the game overall. The game’s biggest failing in my opinion is that it is incredibly unreliable, to the point where playing it have been incredibly difficult for me pretty much any time I try it.
Last night, me and my brother made our first trek out with the express purpose of Pokemon hunting in Pokemon Go (with an essential 3 hour pit stop at the pub somewhere in the middle). The majority of my trip while in motion consisted of me finding a Pokemon, then waiting between 5 and 15 minutes trying to reload the game because it had crashed when I threw a Pokeball at somthing.
When we eventually stopped at one of the Pokestop landmarks, my game became slightly more stable, but my brother started at have the same problems I did when we were in motion. Him hardly being able to interact with the game at all. On average we both had pretty crappy experiences; each time a Pokemon would pop up, it was a coin flip whether the Pokemon would be catchable or the game would simply pop up an error message and vanish. Then, if the encounter worked, it was another coin flip to decide whether the capture would work properly or if the game would just freeze on the poke ball screen. Then it was a matter of turning the app off, reloading it and hoping that the capture actually registered.
It’s made me far less interested in going on “Pokemon hunts” because I can’t be sure if the game will just fart out on me the second I get into a rhythm.
Now I’m sure there are reasons for the game to be like this. Sure, nobody could have expected it to explode the way it has, so servers are undoubtedly overtaxed. But in the end, even though this isn’t the developers fault, it’s still a very real problem that interferes with my ability to interact and enjoy my time with the game. Glitches and bugs are not intended in more high profile releases either, but they still stop people from enjoying it all the same.
Looking up my problem online, like any “sane” person would do. The only solution it ever offered me was that I should avoid playing at peak times as connection would be weaker then. But… but the reason they’re “peak times” is because that’s when sad acts like myself who want to juggle work and playing a children’s game can actually play it. Just when everyone else in the country is finishing work to try and spend a few hours catching a couple dozen Drowzees.
Overall the game is a fun excuse to explore your local neighbourhood and meet likeminded people out and have potential beef with them if they picked their arbitrary team differently than you did. I might end up really enjoying the game in the future, but right now I’m still feeling pretty negative about the whole thing. Like I was at the very beginning.
My initial rejection of the game, I’ll openly admit, was due to some silly kind of fanboy elitism. As a pretty big fan of the mainline Pokemon games; I was the guy turning his nose up at the people who were saying: “Oh my God, Pokemon is back. It’s like being a kid again.” While I’m over here like: “Bitch please, Pokemon never went anywhere, there have been like nine more games since you played your Pikachu Special Version in the 90s.” I never actually said any of that, because I’m no the kind of douche that would ever actually deny anyone something they enjoy, Instead I just festered and rented the product that created this situation, maybe write something about it on a blog. It wasn’t helped by the populist gaming culture blogs that masquerade as News sites bleeding the hype for all it’s worth by making up to seven articles a day focused on the game before the hype inevitably fades.
As much as I still think it’s a bad game, I got over myself and came to find people mispronouncing names and making the same jokes about the Pokemon I did 15 years ago endearing. I have begrudgingly come to accept Pokemon Go as this weird, huge social event that even people like my grandmother in her 80s know about. I am certainly planning to try and play the game, and hope that once the connection issues are ironed out, I might have more fun with it. That, or some other game will become the next biggest thing in the world for a couple of weeks.